The 2001 conference of the Reformation and Revival Fellowship met at Swanwick last
November. An increase in numbers added to the spirit of expectancy, and we were not
The speakers were Graham Hind (Thornton Heath), Andrew Davies (Kensit Memorial Church),
and Paul Cook.
Graham Hind gave three addresses based on 1 Peter 1-2 under the title ‘A life prepared’.
We are filled with longing for revival — for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which
is the church’s greatest need. But how should we be living as we wait for the Lord
to answer these prayers?
Mr Hind’s answer was, firstly, to be firmly grounded in the grace and promises of
God’s Word; secondly, to love one another; and, thirdly, to be filled with joy. Hearts
were warmed and minds stirred.
Andrew Davies’ subject was ‘Revival in the Book of Acts’. God is most glorified,
and Christ is most honoured and praised, in times of revival.
The Lord most adds to the church during revivals. Society at large is made aware
of God when Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit at such times.
We must approach revival biblically before we approach it historically. We need a
New Testament theology of revival which we obtain particularly from Acts.
Pentecost was unique but this does not mean that nothing like it can occur again.
Revivals occur and they produce many effects similar to Pentecost, such as a powerful
outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a sense of God’s presence (with consequent fear and
awe), boldness and power in proclaiming the pre-eminence of Christ, and many conversions.
We were exhorted to keep our eye on Jesus, because revival is about him — his death,
his powerful blood, his cross.
Paul Cook gave accounts of remarkable revivals in Cornwall and Yorkshire. He quoted:
‘If you know nothing of what happened before you were born, you will live your life
like a child’.
Cornwall’s greatest revival was in Redruth and the county west of Truro during 1813-14.
A great solemnity developed in the meetings. There was widespread conviction of sin,
and deep spiritual concern. The people cried to God for mercy and he visited them.
At Tuckingmill, a house meeting overflowed and was transferred to a nearby chapel.
Beginning on the Saturday it continued without any break to the following Friday
— seven days of prayer and supplication and conviction and salvation.
Five to six thousand were converted in the short period of this revival. In Yorkshire
the membership of the Methodist Societies rose from 72,000 in 1791 to 360,000 in
J. Douglas said: ‘Where there is no revival there must be decay’ — which is what
we see today. Our duty is not to introduce novelty but to pray, because the Lord
says: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’ (Zechariah 4:6).